Making bold moves

For Carol Wilding, FCPA, FCA, president and CEO of the Toronto Region Board of Trade, "simplicity is the greatest sophistication."

Q: What makes a good leader?

It's about knowing when to lead and knowing when to let other people lead. The ability to be flexible and adaptable is critically important, but at the same time you have to have an incredible focus when you're leading a team toward a goal. Ultimately, being a leader is about making sure you deliver results.

What is a recent success you have had?

Becoming a regional board of trade [in 2013] was a big, bold move for us, and we needed to make that move. As a leader, you take stock of risk and manage various stakeholders and then you need to know when to make the big, bold move.

What are the main issues you're dealing with now?

Transportation, infrastructure, job creation and closing the prosperity gap — those are our four key themes.

How do you plan to address these issues?

The year in front of us is a critical one. There's a real possibility that people will be casting their votes municipally and provincially within the same year, and we want to look at these issues from a regional perspective. We will be going out and asking candidates, "What are your plans?" They need to put out credible plans.

What advice do you have for new leaders?

Don't take on too much. As a new leader you think you have to learn it all, do it all, understand it all, and you don't. You need to spend time understanding all the various pieces, but you can really only do two or three things really well. That means boiling things down to the essence of what's critical and putting that in as simple a way as possible. Simplicity is the greatest sophistication. Also, I think finding the balance between not moving fast enough and moving too fast is critical.

Carol Wilding has been president and CEO of the Toronto Region Board of Trade since 2007. Prior to that she was president of Mount Sinai Hospital Foundation. She was named a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario in 2009 and holds a degree in business administration from the Schulich School of Business at York University.